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Purnima aims to be first woman to scale Annapurna I



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By Tara Chapagain
Kaski, Mar. 20: Purnima Shrestha of Gorkha is attempting to make history by becoming the first woman to scale Annapurna I.
Purnima, a photojournalist by profession, has previously climbed three other mountains – Mount Everest, Manaslu and Amadablam. This has given her the confidence to attempt Annapurna.
However, many individuals around her oppose her decision. They did not approve of her previous climbs and do not support her now. However, Purnima is unfazed in her resolve.
“People have always been telling me to not do what I do, to not climb mountains. They have been telling me that I cannot do it. Some even compared my aspirations to that of a fifth grader sitting for the tenth grade SEE exams. They have always discouraged me before every climb. But every time, I have mustered courage and succeeded. I have succeeded before and I think I can succeed now,” Purnima told The Rising Nepal.
Despite the naysayers, this time Purnima has found support from her province. Gandaki Province’s Chief Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung has called her “Gandaki’s daughter” and on Friday, handed her an amount of Rs. 800,000 to aid her climb.
“Our daughter Purnima is aiming to summit Annapurna I. We wish her all the best,” Gurung said at the support handing over ceremony. “May we get to parade her around on a chariot after her successful ascent,” he wished.
As to why the province gave her the specific amount of Rs. 800,000, Chief Minister Gurung said, “Eight is considered an auspicious number in China. There is no such belief in Nepal but it is taken to be a lucky digit there. That is why the government provided her Rs. 800,000.”
Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development Ram Sharan Basnet praised Purnima’s courage and determination and extended his wishes.
Purnima is also happy with the provincial government’s aid and said that it made her feel like she was not alone. “I am a woman of the province. I am grateful for the government’s support.”
Purnima is going to climb the peak with a team of 17 Nepali and foreign nationals. However, she informed that more people could be added.